SAN DIEGO – September 16, 2012 – Any other night, young Mexican boxing star Saul “Canelo” Alvarez of Mexico would be the center of attention fighting on Mexican Independence day in Las Vegas, even with a less than formidable opponent like Californian Josesito Lopez.
His seemingly easy, swift fifth round TKO victory over Lopez would have fans buzzing about whom the 22-year-old should be fighting next. Is he ready for a Julio Caesar Chavez Jr., Miguel Cotto, or even Floyd Mayweather Jr. as some have suggested? Alvarez called both of them out, and this time it’s not just the thrill of the victory talking.
“I had a big responsibility fighting for my fans around the world this weekend and I think I made them happy. I want the big fights now — Cotto and Mayweather,” said Alvarez. Cotto was in attendance at the fight, and there are rumors the two could meet for a classic Mexico/Puerto Rico showdown on Saturday, May 4. Cotto has to win his fight over Austin Trout first in December. Assuming he does, expect to hear an announcement within hours that Alvarez vs. Cotto is on.
Mayweather is a big draw and might want to step out on one of boxing’s big nights of the year on May 4. If Mayweather decides he wants Alvarez next, he’ll get first dibs.
Alvarez’s victory is in the shadows of the bout down the street at the Thomas and Mack Arena between Chavez Jr. and Sergio Martinez, who fought a pay-per-view battle worth every dime. So Alvarez will simply have to console himself with another victory making him 41-0-1, with 30 KOs, and see what the future brings.
Alvarez put Lopez on the canvas three times, and by then referee Joe Cortez had seen enough and stopped the fight. Some observers may feel Cortez stopped the fight too soon, but I am not one of them. When a fight is such a mismatch and you come to the middle rounds with virtually no chance of winning, there is no point letting a fighter take any more punishment. It was a good stop and Lopez can learn from the experience and fight another day. Lopez was never meant to be Alvarez’s opponent. It should have been Paul Williams, who was injured in an automobile accident and remains paralyzed in a wheelchair; or Victor Ortiz, who got knocked out by Lopez in a tune-up fight.
For his efforts, Alvarez won the Showtime “Best Knockout” prize, a $100,000 bonus.
As frequently happens, the undercard fights were more exciting. WBC featherweight titleholder Jhonny Gonzalez (52-8, 45 KOs) suffered a surprising defeat at the hands of challenger Daniel Ponce de Leon (44-4, 35 KOs) who took a decision. Gonzalez had won 12 straight fights, 11 of them knockouts.
Marcos Maidana (32-3, 28 KOs) proved he can win at welterweight, but opponent Jesus Soto Karass didn’t make it easy for him. Soto Karass (26-8-3, 17 KOs) came down in weight from 154 pounds and this is never the greatest idea. These two are brawlers and they put on a great show for the fans. Maidana got the victory with a knockout in the first minute of Round 8. It’s a shame this one wasn’t the undercard lead-in to Martinez and Chavez. Jr., especially pitting an Argentinean fighter against a Mexican fighter. It was a great night for Argentina.
IBF Bantamweight champion Leo Santa Cruz (21-0-1, 11 KOs) defended his record and his belt with a victory over Eric Morel (46-4, 23 KOs). Morel;s corner stopped the fight in the fifth round for a TKO to Santa Cruz. This one made the Mexican fans happy, as they love to see one of their fighters win over a boxer from Puerto Rico any day.
Showtime will replay the Alvarez/Lopez fight and undercards on Sunday, September 16, at 10 a.m. Eastern and Pacific Time.
Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in the Communities at The Washington Times. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +
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